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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > MacBook Pro 15" with "Grainy" Matte Display?

MacBook Pro 15" with "Grainy" Matte Display?
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Nov 7, 2006, 11:55 AM
 
The matte display on my new MacBook Pro has a grainy look to it. It's very noticeable. I'm curious if this is a defect or if all MacBook Pro displays are like this. To better describe the look... it looks like someone took a screenshot and applied the noise filter to it. It also looks like as if there's a lot of dust on the screen. Please let me know if anyone else sees this because if it's not right, I need to return it and get a replacement. Thanks.
     
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Nov 7, 2006, 12:32 PM
 
Is it worse at a specific angle??
     
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Nov 7, 2006, 01:20 PM
 
Could be a large number of stuck pixels. Stuck pixels are ones that permanently show either red, green, or blue (as opposed to "dead" pixels which are white or black). I once got a powerbook that had a large number of them and it certainly looked like someone had applied some random RGB noise. I would send it back (or take it to your local apple store).
15" MBP, 2.33 GHz C2D, 120GB HD, 2 GB RAM, OS X 10.4. 4GB iPod Nano.
     
TheSpaz  (op)
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Nov 7, 2006, 03:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by phazedowt View Post
Could be a large number of stuck pixels. Stuck pixels are ones that permanently show either red, green, or blue (as opposed to "dead" pixels which are white or black). I once got a powerbook that had a large number of them and it certainly looked like someone had applied some random RGB noise. I would send it back (or take it to your local apple store).
It's not stuck or dead pixels. It's definitely the finish on the screen. Whatever it is... it looks crappy. I prefer my old PowerBook screen. The image was nice and clear and sharp on that.
     
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Nov 7, 2006, 03:56 PM
 
Pics?
     
TheSpaz  (op)
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Nov 7, 2006, 04:11 PM
 
Originally Posted by iomatic View Post
Pics?
Sorry.... but, the camera doesn't pick up this detail. It has to be seen in person really. The coating on the screen has a texture to it and you can see it even when the screen is on. It's mostly visible on solid colors. It looks almost like slightly frosted anti-glare glass. I know that it's an anti-glare screen but, so is my PowerBook's screen and it looks perfect. This screen must be bumpier or something. It's hard to explain any better than that.
     
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Nov 7, 2006, 04:21 PM
 
I would take it to an Apple Store if possible and have the genius take a look, and also to compare it with the display models in the store.
     
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Nov 7, 2006, 04:39 PM
 
Yeah, let us know if/when you can do that.

What, you don't have a D-SLR and a macro lens?
     
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Nov 7, 2006, 05:19 PM
 
Originally Posted by iomatic View Post
Yeah, let us know if/when you can do that.

What, you don't have a D-SLR and a macro lens?
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Nov 7, 2006, 05:27 PM
 
I have a Canon 300D Digital Rebel with the stock lens and a 75mm-300mm telephoto lens... but, I just get a crappy moiré pattern when I take a picture of the screen. Have you ever tried taking a photo of a computer screen?
     
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Nov 7, 2006, 05:29 PM
 
So nobody here has a MacBook Pro with a matte display that has this effect on it. Try moving a white window around a bit and you can see the bumpy pattern I talk of because the pattern won't move.
     
TheSpaz  (op)
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Nov 7, 2006, 05:32 PM
 
The effect looks like this:

Take a screenshot
Open it in Photoshop
Add a 1% Noise to it (Distribution: Gaussian and with Monochromatic checked)

And that is what my screen looks like.

Click Here for Example
( Last edited by TheSpaz; Nov 7, 2006 at 05:42 PM. )
     
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Nov 7, 2006, 06:02 PM
 
Huh. that is indeed bad.

Well, can you take the shot from the side or different angles? Longer exposure/smaller aperture (i.e., manual exposure).



Originally Posted by TheSpaz View Post
The effect looks like this:

Take a screenshot
Open it in Photoshop
Add a 1% Noise to it (Distribution: Gaussian and with Monochromatic checked)

And that is what my screen looks like.

Click Here for Example
     
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Nov 7, 2006, 06:07 PM
 
Originally Posted by iomatic View Post
Huh. that is indeed bad.

Well, can you take the shot from the side or different angles? Longer exposure/smaller aperture (i.e., manual exposure).
The colours are set right aren't they? Does it look the same when booted from the install DVD or in another user account?
     
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Nov 7, 2006, 06:19 PM
 
Oh that's a good point.

The OS can dither the colors if you only have your Displays Preferences set to Thousands.
     
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Nov 7, 2006, 06:20 PM
 
My matte display looks just fine. Are you sure you're just not trying to tell the rest of us that you really would rather have gotten a glossy one?
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Nov 8, 2006, 10:08 AM
 
Update: I went to my local Apple Reseller last night and I looked at another MacBook Pro and it was the same way. The guy at the store said that's how they come and it's just the nature of the matte display. So at least I know that my computer's not defective. Do you think Apple will trade me a glossy screen MBP for mine? I only bought it Saturday.
     
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Nov 8, 2006, 10:33 AM
 
Originally Posted by TheSpaz View Post
Update: I went to my local Apple Reseller last night and I looked at another MacBook Pro and it was the same way. The guy at the store said that's how they come and it's just the nature of the matte display. So at least I know that my computer's not defective. Do you think Apple will trade me a glossy screen MBP for mine? I only bought it Saturday.
Yup, shouldn't be a problem.
15" MBP, 2.33 GHz C2D, 120GB HD, 2 GB RAM, OS X 10.4. 4GB iPod Nano.
     
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Nov 8, 2006, 12:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by phazedowt View Post
Yup, shouldn't be a problem.
That's great news! I shall call them and see if they can do something like that. I can tell them that I was expecting a display that was more like my PowerBook and the grain is distracting to me. I just hope they don't charge me a restocking fee. Do you think I have a valid complaint really?
     
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Nov 8, 2006, 01:31 PM
 
Yes; doesn't it fall within the 14-day no-questions-asked return policy? Even if they _start_ to give you flak, start turning up the perturbed-customer voice.
     
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Nov 8, 2006, 01:37 PM
 
I was going to say that the matte displays simply look like crap compared to the glossy, but I was sure that I'd be crucified by the glossy-haters here -- so I refrained from mentioning that earlier. ;-)
     
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Nov 8, 2006, 01:59 PM
 
Dang, since my machine is CTO (not here yet), I'm going to have to live with it, though I don't recall in the Apple Store they were horrible, nor even noticeable…?
     
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Nov 8, 2006, 02:22 PM
 
I had just the same experience with my MacBook Pro (matte screen). I was coming from a PowerBook 15" where the screen looked clearer and less grainy/washed out. I sent it back and got the glossy instead, very satisfied with my choice.
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Nov 9, 2006, 11:19 AM
 
Wow. Sorry to hear about that.



I got the glossy screen on my new MBP even though I read some information via Google that the glossy screen wasn't that great and was, in fact, a supposedly inferior screen (matte screens are pricier to produce than the glossy was what the article said).

All I can say is that the glossy screen is awesome. I can even sit outside in direct sunlight and see the screen with perfect clarity - something I cannot do my regular PB 15" system.

Get the glossy screen.

I almost think that someone should write an article about this issue of yours. You cannot be the only person who has this issue? People should be informed and know about it so that they can make educated purchases. I wouldn't want the matte screen after reading and seeing your matte finish either.

Good luck!
     
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Nov 9, 2006, 01:24 PM
 
I decided to just keep the matte screen. I've always used matte and I do photography and stuff and I heard that the colors are more true to life on a matte screen. I don't use my computer outside and I would probably be annoyed by the glare from a glossy screen. I was using my MacBook Pro last night and I decided just to use it without staring at the bumps and I started to forget they were there. I think that if I just give it time, I won't even care or notice anymore. It's just weird for me right now because I upgraded from a 12" PowerBook and it just looks different now. I also noticed that the same effect is on my Samsung LCD monitor here at work but, the pixels are large enough that it doesn't diffuse as much. That's the main problem on the MacBook Pros. The pixels are so small that it doesn't take much to distort them such as a scratch or a fingerprint and obviously the matte finish.
     
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Nov 10, 2006, 12:25 PM
 
I ordered my MBP C2D online with a matte screen and had this mysterious niggling feeling that I'd made the wrong choice. So, I went to the apple store on Regents street to check the difference out (luckily they had 2 side by side!) I too saw this awful grainy texture on the matte screen that was terribly distracting, that paired with the fact that matte screens bloom when light hits them at an angle - obscuring anything on the screen underneath the bloom. In the bright lights of the store I saw plenty of reflections in the glossy screen, but overall it beat the matte hands down in every respect! Anyway, the mac store lighting conditions arepossibly the worst conditions you will ever see your laptop in!!

Needless to say I called apple immediately to change my order to a glossy screen. Which they did. This set back my delivery date back a few days, but was well, well worth it. For the record I was 100% convinced on getting a matte after reading forums on the internet. It just goes to show that you need to check these things out with your own peepers! There were very few Glossy MBPs in the store at the time I checked (maybe 2 or 3 at the most).

Good luck with getting used to your matte screen. I'd change it personally!
     
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Nov 10, 2006, 12:40 PM
 
I have a matte screen and I like it. I'd probably like glossy too though.
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Nov 10, 2006, 12:43 PM
 
From that photoshop mockup I know exactly what you're seeing. It shows up on my GLOSSY C2D 15". I thought it was something about the glossy displays vs. matte, so it's quite interesting to hear it's on the matte displays too. Although it's not super surprising because I've seen the same effect on the matte display in some of the iMacs. Looks like glitter, mostly noticeable in bright whiteish areas.

I can't tell you what it is... but I can say that it bugged me for about 5 minutes, and now I barely see it, or it doesn't bother me at all. I would guess it's not a defect... just something about the design of these panels.
     
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Nov 10, 2006, 12:59 PM
 
i know what you mean by 'grainy' and have seen this 'grain' on every matte lcd ive worked on 20" dell, 24" dell, 23" ACD plastic bezel, 23" ACD, and 17" ACD plastic bezel. whats there to get used to?
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Nov 10, 2006, 01:02 PM
 
Originally Posted by notsolinear View Post
From that photoshop mockup I know exactly what you're seeing. It shows up on my GLOSSY C2D 15". I thought it was something about the glossy displays vs. matte, so it's quite interesting to hear it's on the matte displays too. Although it's not super surprising because I've seen the same effect on the matte display in some of the iMacs. Looks like glitter, mostly noticeable in bright whiteish areas.

I can't tell you what it is... but I can say that it bugged me for about 5 minutes, and now I barely see it, or it doesn't bother me at all. I would guess it's not a defect... just something about the design of these panels.
Wow, I heard that the Glossy screens had a smooth surface without bumps or texture. I talked to someone else who has a Glossy screen and his is perfect. I'm starting to wonder if it's just the Core 2 Duo screens... my friend who has the Glossy, has the older MacBook Pro. Hmmmm. I'm gonna have to actually go to an Apple Store and find out what the deal is.
     
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Nov 10, 2006, 01:21 PM
 
Originally Posted by iREZ View Post
i know what you mean by 'grainy' and have seen this 'grain' on every matte lcd ive worked on 20" dell, 24" dell, 23" ACD plastic bezel, 23" ACD, and 17" ACD plastic bezel. whats there to get used to?
I see a slight grain on this Samsung monitor at work but, it's not very heavy. On my MacBook Pro at home it's really really bad and very noticeable. Makes the screen look like crap really. Just like someone else said... it looks like glitter all over the screen that gets in the way of the image.
     
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Nov 10, 2006, 01:30 PM
 
mine is supposed to be glossy too, but now i wonder if it really is, and worse, it's grainy too, i could easily see the grain when the background color was white.
is there any specification somewhere on the laptop that indicates the display type, glossy or matte?
guys, im really mad now
un jour,
     
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Nov 10, 2006, 01:37 PM
 
Mate, its blatently obvious whether you have a glossy or a matte screen. If you see any reflections with sharp(ish) edges then you have the glossy. Glossy looks like a highly polished table surface, matte more like a table that has been finely sand-papered!!
     
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Nov 10, 2006, 01:40 PM
 
Glossy = Shiny Glass-Like surface
Matte = Dull Grayish surface that doesn't reflect outside light
     
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Nov 10, 2006, 01:43 PM
 
Originally Posted by TheSpaz View Post
Glossy = Shiny Glass-Like surface
Matte = Dull Grayish surface that doesn't reflect outside light
yup, but beside the look of the screen itself, is there any other way?
un jour,
     
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Nov 10, 2006, 01:45 PM
 
Originally Posted by outthere View Post
yup, but beside the look of the screen itself, is there any other way?
Putting your serial number on the Apple support page might tell you.
     
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Nov 10, 2006, 01:47 PM
 
thanks seanc,
i'll try that, hope is works
un jour,
     
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Nov 10, 2006, 04:27 PM
 
I'm sorry to tell you that Spaz...but the MacBook Pro screen is very grainy, I've compared the MacBook Pro, the Core2Duo version and the latest Powerbook they all look the same..."grainy".
That's why at that time I went for a black MacBook. Apple's matte screen suck, this is something related to the high brightness they have and the anti-glare treatment which is not optimal; the iBook and the 12' Powerbook didn't have this issue.

If you want a screen that doesn't look as the image you posted, get a glossy screen! This is an advise from a user who had this problem.

Hope it helps
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Nov 10, 2006, 04:32 PM
 
I mention elsewhere I don't see the grain unless I'm real close, but it doesn't bother me nor is it very noticeable (I really have to squint and peer) at normal viewing distance (for me) at around 12-18" inches away.

The display at the very least, is quite a bit brighter and contrastier than the PowerBook. It is really fine to me. Seems like the same "line" issue when the last PowerBook issues were coming around, again, I was one of those that were somewhat affected; but only unless I was up close. YMMV.
     
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Nov 10, 2006, 07:07 PM
 
I noticed it too from when I upgraded from a G4 15" to my MBP matte. I thought it was part of an effect of the higher density of the screenpixels, so I didn't bother.

Never been bothered with it, and actually happy, because this screen is more usable outside than my G4. I think it's a surface texture to reduce reflection or something.
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Nov 10, 2006, 07:12 PM
 
Originally Posted by markclausing View Post
I noticed it too from when I upgraded from a G4 15" to my MBP matte. I thought it was part of an effect of the higher density of the screenpixels, so I didn't bother.

Never been bothered with it, and actually happy, because this screen is more usable outside than my G4. I think it's a surface texture to reduce reflection or something.
I noticed it right away and it is to reduce glare but, it's just a bummer that you have to sacrifice image quality to get lower glare. Also, some people are mentioning that the same effect is on the Glossy screens too. I looked at a regular MacBook the other day with a Glossy screen (obviously) and it had no visual interference between the image and my eyes. But, as I just said, some people are stating that the Glossy screen on the MacBook Pro's have the grain issue as well... which I don't quite understand... so there goes that whole (matte finish to reduce glare) theory.
     
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Nov 10, 2006, 08:20 PM
 
Some displays put a coating on to make it matte/antireflective. I don't know if Apple's glossy screen is what exists under a matte screen though. Maybe?
     
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Nov 10, 2006, 08:38 PM
 
My glossy 15" is not grainy at all.
     
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Nov 10, 2006, 08:44 PM
 
Spaz, I had the same problem but with a Compaq V2015. I know we are talking about way too different levels of quality here. But I thought that the screen felt like if it was dirty. I look at the photo that you simulated and it had the same grainy effect on my Compaq. I went back to the store and sure thing.. it was the same way on the demo laptop. At first I tried what you said... not to pay attention to it, but in reality it just pissed me off so I ended up selling it (should have returned it when I had the opportunity). At the time I compared it to my iBook screen and it was way superior to the Compaq's. I showed the grainy screen to some friends to see if they catch what I was telling them about and only one (the geeky one) grasped it at first sight. About 1 month in time the glossy version of the Compaq were in stores and I went to see if they had the same grainy detail but covered on a glossy screen and nope.. the glossy screen did not had that dirty/grainy look.

Do not quote me on this one, but my Compaq was made by Quanta and I believe this company builds also Macs for Apple.
     
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Nov 10, 2006, 09:21 PM
 
Originally Posted by polendo View Post
Spaz, I had the same problem but with a Compaq V2015. I know we are talking about way too different levels of quality here. But I thought that the screen felt like if it was dirty. I look at the photo that you simulated and it had the same grainy effect on my Compaq. I went back to the store and sure thing.. it was the same way on the demo laptop. At first I tried what you said... not to pay attention to it, but in reality it just pissed me off so I ended up selling it (should have returned it when I had the opportunity). At the time I compared it to my iBook screen and it was way superior to the Compaq's. I showed the grainy screen to some friends to see if they catch what I was telling them about and only one (the geeky one) grasped it at first sight. About 1 month in time the glossy version of the Compaq were in stores and I went to see if they had the same grainy detail but covered on a glossy screen and nope.. the glossy screen did not had that dirty/grainy look.

Do not quote me on this one, but my Compaq was made by Quanta and I believe this company builds also Macs for Apple.
Thank you for your detailed post. I may go to a real Apple store and check out the glossy screens. I just got my computer last week so maybe I can trade with Apple. I just hope I don't have to pay the $249 for restocking
     
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Nov 10, 2006, 09:43 PM
 
The only thing I notice about my screen is that by default all text is pretty tiny-it's because of the awesome resolution of the screen, of course, but a "100%" sized Word document has characters that are barely 2mm tall with 12 point type. Because the matte screen does scatter some light, it makes really small and not terribly high contrast characters look a bit fuzzy. I'm tinkering with the idea of raising text size by reducing resolution, but I don't know whether I'll actually go through with it or not.

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Nov 10, 2006, 10:35 PM
 
my matte screen is impeccable....take it to the store cuz it shouldnt be like that :/
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Nov 10, 2006, 11:16 PM
 
Originally Posted by HazelGirl View Post
my matte screen is impeccable....take it to the store cuz it shouldnt be like that :/
From what I read, all matte LCD screens scatter light this way, that's what makes them anti-reflective and I don't think it's actually a defect. You may just not notice it on yours. I'm a graphic artist and my eyes are keen to dots and specks like you wouldn't believe. Besides... I'm more picky than the average customer... I notice every little thing... while I admit I notice small details... I do not think this one is a small detail. The speckles make my screen look like garbage and it's 10x worse than any LCD screen I've seen. It's definitely different from my PowerBook's screen and even my early iBook's screen. Trust me, I still have my PowerBook and I could look at it right now and see that there's no visible bumps on it.
     
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Nov 10, 2006, 11:19 PM
 
It's most noticeable on white areas or gray areas. The menubar shows it a lot and so do Finder windows... as well as Safari windows. Striped areas such as menus show it pretty bad and it looks worse because the stripes even look dirty.
     
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Nov 11, 2006, 12:57 AM
 
In all honesty, I see it in both my 15" MBP and my 12" PB.
     
 
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